At some point over the next couple of weeks, the Ravens are expected to finalize their deal with running back Trent Richardson. When they do, they’ll add another name to one of their deepest positions.
Running back Justin Forsett, who is recovering from a broken arm suffered in November, remains the presumptive starter. Behind him is Buck Allen, who had 867 yards of total offense and three touchdowns last year as a rookie; 2014 fourth-round pick Lorenzo Taliaferro, who has struggled with injuries but has looked promising in limited opportunities; Terrance West, who showed glimpses of potential last year; and Terrence Magee. Richardson, the third overall pick in the 2012 NFL draft, soon could join that list.
Ravens coach John Harbaugh said at the NFL scouting combine in February that the team would go with the hot hand at running back.
Unless the Ravens make a bigger splash at the position at some point, Forsett and Allen are still expected to enter training camp atop the depth chart, the story said. That would leave Taliaferro, West, Magee, Richardson and any other back the Ravens bring in competing for one or two available jobs. Forsett had an excellent 2014 season before falling a bit last year, and then was lost for the season with a broken arm. Allen took over and was impressive at times but made some mistakes as well.
Some have speculated that Forsett could be released, but Head John Harbaugh dismissed that thought. When asked if he expects Forsett to be part of the team next year, Harbaugh quickly responded, “Absolutely.”
“The featured back will be the best back, and to me Justin Forsett certainly fits the bill,” Harbaugh said. “He’s proven that already.”
The injury to his arm is not expected to hold him back at all this year, and Harbaugh said the issue has already healed.
“His wrist is good,” Harbaugh said. “He has one of those injuries that is really predictable.”
“There’s not a better person, there’s not a better guy [than Forsett],” Harbaugh said. “He understands everything we’re doing inside and out. I love him. But we’re going to put the guy out there that is gaining the most yards.”
Related players: Javorius Allen
Forsett's YPC (4.25) was better than Javorius Allen's (3.75), but the rookie showed good receiving chops, hauling in 45 catches for 353 yards and two touchdowns. Allen was the #6 RB in standard formats (#3 in PPR) from Week 11 to Week 17, while Forsett was sidelined with a wrist injury. Forsett was #17 in standard and #12 in PPR through the first 10 weeks. According to HC John Harbaugh, the two will compete for touches in 2016.
The Ravens lost another one of their top playmakers.
Already playing without quarterback Joe Flacco, running back Justin Forsett and wide receiver Steve Smith Sr., the Ravens watched starting tight end Crockett Gillmore leave today's game against the Miami Dolphins with a back injury.
Gillmore made a seven-yard catch in the first quarter and was drilled to the ground by Koa Misi and Michael Thomas. It isn't clear whether that was the play on which Gillmore was hurt.
In his second season, Gillmore has been a revelation this year for the Ravens. He entered the game with 32 catches for 405 yards and four touchdowns in nine games.
Saturday, November 28, 2015, 12:36pm
Rookie running back Raheem Mostert was the only alternative to fellow first-year player Buck Allen after Justin Forsett’s broken right arm last Sunday against the St. Louis Rams. But Mostert isn’t discouraged that he didn’t play an offensive snap as the Ravens deployed him exclusively as a kick returner.
“They feel a certain way about me,” Mostert said. “I’ve just got to be patient; whatever the case may be. I’m not really too worried about getting out there on offense, because I know my main focus right now is special teams.
"Talking to [running backs] coach Thomas [Hammock] and stuff like that, he’s telling me that’s part of the reason why I’m here. I’ve just got to focus on special teams, and then get into the playbook more. But I’m doing good right now.”
Mostert has had four return opportunities this year, averaging 35.3 yards a return with a long of 50 yards. That average would lead the NFL if he had enough returns to qualify. He’s played one offensive snap in four games since the Ravens claimed him off waivers from the Miami Dolphins. He looked pretty in good in preseason with the Eagles before they let him go.
Friday, November 27, 2015, 6:20pm
A broken arm ended running back Justin Forsett's season on Sunday, but apparently not his Baltimore Ravens career. Ravens coach John Harbaugh talked about Forsett as if he remains part of the team's plans in 2016.
"I would expect Justin back next year full-speed, ready to go," Harbaugh said. "He’s under contract and a big part of what we’re doing going forward."
Forsett signed a three-year, $9 million deal with the Ravens this year, but only the $2.1 million signing bonus and his 2015 salary ($900,000) are guaranteed.
Forsett was off to one of his best starts of the season Sunday, gaining 26 yards on four carries (6.5-yard average) before breaking his right arm.
The 2014 Pro Bowl running back appeared to be on his way to a great performance when St. Louis Rams star defensive tackle Aaron Donald threw him to the ground and caused his right arm to break from the impact during the first quarter of Sunday’s 16-13 Ravens win over St. Louis.
Forsett tweeted that he was having surgery Monday afternoon, and coach John Harbaugh said that while he hasn’t been given a prognosis, he doesn’t expect Forsett to miss more than this season.
"My assumption is that … bones heal pretty quickly, so I’m sure he’ll be back in the offseason lifting weights and training,” Harbaugh said. “I would expect Justin back next year full-speed, ready to go. He’s under contract, and a big part of what we’re doing going forward.”
A season ago, Forsett emerged from being a training camp afterthought to rush for a league-high 5.4 yards per carry (235 carries for 1,266 yards) and make his first Pro Bowl. The Ravens rewarded him with a three-year, $9 million contract this offseason, though most of the guaranteed money comes in 2015. The Ravens have struggled to run the ball this year. Javorius Allen will get a chance to show his stuff with what should be a big part of the workload for the rest of the season.
Early in the game, the Ravens lost starting running back Justin Forsett as he suffered a fractured right arm on a tackle made by Aaron Donald. Coach John Harbaugh announced after the game that Forsett is lost for the season.
Javorius Allen will likely take over as the lead back with Kyle Juszcyk and Raheem Mostert possibly getting work as well. The good news is Allen could get a bulk of the workload, but with the Ravens also losing QB Joe Flacco for the year, the offense may struggle to produce fantasy numbers.
The Baltimore Ravens began taking more extensive looks at their younger players in Sunday's loss to Jacksonville.
Ravens coach John Harbaugh cautioned reading too much into it.
"I wouldn’t tie it together with the record or anything like that," Harbaugh said. "Those guys were out there, and we’ve always done it this way. Basically, it builds on practice. So, the better you practice, the more consistently you practice, the more the opportunities come in games, along with an opening."
RB Javorius Allen is showing flashes in his handful of carries per game. If the Ravens believe Allen has the potential to be a featured back, they should see if he can handle that job right now. Justin Forsett is a 30-year-old back, and Baltimore doesn't need to give him 100-plus more carries to know what he can do. Those touches would be more valuable if given to Allen, who is 11th among rookies with 182 yards rushing. The Ravens like his vision and how fluid he runs. Allen's biggest challenge is pass protection and breaking tackles after getting through the line.
The Ravens don't want to send the message that they're already looking to the future because they don't want their players to give up on this season. But, with Baltimore floundering at 2-7, one way to make the final seven games more meaningful is to see what the younger players can do in game situations, the story said. It's something for Forsett owners need to be aware of going forward, because if they do decide to give Allen more of a look, it will obviously cut into Forsett's fantasy production.
Adding Magee to the roster gives the Ravens some insurance in case Forsett can’t play. Head Coach John Harbaugh said Forsett would be a game-time decision.
Forsett went down with the ankle injury last week against the Browns and did not return. He missed practice Wednesday and Thursday, but returned as a limited participant Friday. He was officially listed as questionable on the final injury report, and told reporters that his recovery was “still a work in progress.” If Forsett is sidelined, rookie fourth-round pick Buck Allen would get the nod as Baltimore’s starting running back. Magee and recent acquisition Raheem Mostert would be the backup ball carriers. All three of those running backs are rookies, with Magee and Mostert both undrafted products.
Friday, October 16, 2015, 6:15pm
Ravens RB Justin Forsett (ankle, questionable) returned to practice on Friday and is questionable for Week 6. It appears that Forsett will play in Week 6. If he can’t go, Javorius Allen would pick up the slack. Allen has some flex appeal since Lorenzo Taliaferro is out for the year. Forsett says he feels “a lot better” than he did earlier in the week.
Thursday, October 15, 2015, 6:18pm
Ravens RB Justin Forsett (ankle) did not practice Wednesday. The Ravens expect Forsett to play on Sunday, but we’d like to see some practice activity on Friday. If he can’t play, Javorius Allen would pick up the slack.
"So, that's a good sign," Harbaugh said. "It gives him a chance certainly for this week."
Forsett hurt his ankle late in the fourth quarter of Sunday's 33-30 overtime loss to the Cleveland Browns. He walked off the field on his own power, but he didn't play in overtime.
Forsett said he didn't return to the game because he was worried about causing more damage to his ankle. He was injured while being tackled by Browns safety Donte Whitner on a 32-yard catch.
After the game, Forsett didn't walk with a limp in the locker room. Forsett and backup running back Lorenzo Taliaferro (foot), who was inactive Sunday, both could be limited throughout practice this week.
Once considered a given to again be among the most stable and feared units in the NFL, the Ravens rushing offense has been successful only in a formation that a year ago it shied away from.
Through two games this season, running backs Justin Forsett and Lorenzo Taliaferro are averaging seven yards per carry (12 rushes, 84 yards) out of the shotgun formation — all of those carries coming in Sunday's 37-33 loss to the Oakland Raiders. But that duo, and rookie Buck Allen, averaged 2.82 yards per carry (34 rushes for 96 yards) when quarterback Joe Flacco was under center.
It's a unique problem for the Ravens, and one likely exacerbated by the game situations Sunday in Oakland — the Ravens twice trailed by two scores, and found a rhythm in the shotgun that had eluded them through the first game against the Denver Broncos.
But their 12 carries on draw plays out of the shotgun were more than Ravens running backs had during all of the 2014 season (nine), and through two games was the only way the offense substantially moved the ball on the ground. No NFL team used the shotgun formation less than the Ravens last season.
However small the sample size, it brings into question how the pair of top backs will be utilized going forward, and whether the zone scheme that Forsett found success in last year will yield similar results this year. Fantasy owners probably don't care what formation Forsett is in at this point, but perhaps it's at least good news the Ravens have found something to build off in the run game.
Friday, September 18, 2015, 6:37pm
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